Businessman communicating with smart phone

Contributed by Kerry McCane, Director, Field Service Product Management at WorkWave

Whether operating as a residential cleaning service, commercial contract provider or distributing jan/san products, it can be challenging to manage a service-based business in an ever-changing environment and stay competitive. It is essential to have visibility into where your crews, teams and drivers are located, how they are operating against scheduled jobs and deliveries, how they are interacting with the end customer and how they are communicating important information back to the office.

By the year 2020, more than 75 percent of field service organizations with over 50 users will deploy mobile apps that go beyond simplified data collection and add capabilities to help their staff succeed better in the field, according to Gartner. By implementing mobile tools, crews and managers can plan their workday and adapt to changing circumstances, whether in the office or on-the-go.

Before adopting a mobile solution for your workforce, it is important to find the balance in how your business operates today and how you would like it to operate tomorrow. Some key things to keep in mind are making sure you know your business and your users, finding a trusted partner and understanding that one size does not fit all - for example, a jan/san company delivering goods during specific time frames might need a mobile app that closely plans the day’s extensive routes, while a building contractor might be looking for an app where he or she can easily record and update service information from a mobile device.

When considering whether or not to implement mobile solutions into your workforce, it is important to look at the following benefits:

Better customer service: Being able to access customer or service history on the fly can improve the overall customer experience during an appointment by allowing the crew member to view a customer’s history before the appointment even begins - providing visibility into service history, special notes and previous customer feedback. Mobile apps can also allow for updates to be made directly to the customer - such as delivery or crew member ETA.

Enhances upsell and cross-sell opportunities: With customer information and history accessible right from a mobile device, crew members can add cross-sell and upsell services right onsite. This also allows a crew member to gauge what types of opportunities might be best for a customer based on their service history and feedback.
Increasing the flow of information: By implementing a mobile app with communication capabilities, your crew can not only communicate back and forth between their job-site and the office, but they can also be notified of a last-minute schedule change.
Work from anywhere: The ability to work from anywhere (with or without connection) is critical for businesses who have employees mostly on-the go, bridging the gap between the crew, drivers and office employees. Look for mobile apps that offer the option to store important documents for customers to view and sign, right from a mobile device - decreasing time and paperwork.
Planning and optimizing: When using a mobile app that has GPS capabilities, you can easily confirm live and historical vehicle information, enabling a manager to track where their crews or fleets are currently, and where they have been throughout the day. This helps ensure that customers are being serviced in a timely fashion, allows managers to identify any roadblocks with a certain route plan and allows increased visibility into crew and driver productivity.
Companies that have not deployed enterprise mobile applications risk experiencing less-efficient operations (61 percent), outdated practices (51 percent) and missed sales opportunities (47 percent), according to Adobe. It is increasingly important for service companies - whether working with a crew or supply distribution - to understand how going mobile can help you to continue to provide great customer service, while also maintaining a professional and growing business.